Vallarta, the once sleepy port permanently transformed by the film adaption of Tennessee Williams's "The Night of the Iguana," remains largely defined as a tourist colony for Americans, Canadians, and Mexicans on holiday from the interior. But in five days there for the arte contemporaneo festival, ignoring the tourist traps, I found it to be definitely coming into its own, with distinctly local culture-makers and scenesters, pleasing non-touristy nightspots, excellent food, and a seductive mixture of myth and menace that gave me an overall feeling of tropical noir. Below, some more snapshots.
A floating installation by Cristian Silva, mimicking the swan-shaped towel sculptures traditionally left by maids on beds in Vallarta hotel rooms.
Me with artist Shizu Saldamando after our panel talk outdoors.
A (lip-syncing, male) songstress performing at legendary gay disco Paco Paco.
A work by Davis Birks. The word "ELLOS" is readable on the fence's other side.
Shrimp tacos seasoned al pastor at the beach-front spot Barracuda.
* Congrats and cheers are due to curator/organizer Pilar Perez, and to all the local artists and volunteers who participated and helped put the event together. * ADD: Here's the L.A. Times' Reed Johnson writing on the festival.